on plans

i planned differently, this time around.

‘i’m not going to make the same mistakes i did with eli. iris will be more independent, less afraid, because i’m going to be more independent and less afraid.’

the best-laid plans, no?

my husband works an hour away. in the morning, he leaves for work an hour ahead of his schedule, and returns between 1 and 2 hours after his schedule (retail loves working past hours, after all).

between 11 and 13 hours, i am on my own, managing two children two and under, two cats, and a dog whose behavior has steadily worsened with the arrival of iris.

most days, i manage. we turn on music, we dance and sing, we read books, we practice letters. we practice laying on our tummies, i race between watching children and throwing loads of laundry into the washer. i race between caring for a child who refuses to sleep without me for more than 20 minutes and working.

we eat dinner, we read stories, we sing, we pray, we go to sleep. a few hours later, our fella comes home, and exhausted after long days, we all collapse into the bed, hoping to feel rested for another round 8 hours later.

parenting is not a glamorous position. i get to experience massive belly laughs for something as simple as making sniffing noises like a bunny, and i get to change my shirt 3 times a day because i am soaked through with drool.

i get to hear my son in his room during quiet time, joyously shouting, “…5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10! 10! 10!” i get to bite my lip in frustration when my girl, once again, wakes up the moment my nipple has slipped from her mouth, the moment the warmth of my body is not beside her.

we get to experience the joy of cramming all four of us into eli’s little room on days off, just before bed, with lights low and stories abounding.

we get to experience a rushed few words of greeting before all but passing out.

this isn’t what we’d planned. we’d planned for greater autonomy, greater rest, a more equitable division of parenting.

and sometimes, we get frustrated. frustrated at ourselves, a slow burn of inward derision, sometimes we get frustrated at each other, picking fights over inconsequential matters to make our passing ships feel a little less starved.

but sometimes, we get to see a spark of what’s to come, a glimpse of working toward something greater than right this moment, and we can find a moment of rest, a moment of peace.

our plans haven’t worked out as we’d though.

but, really, in a world governed by chance, ease, convenience–do they ever?